Monday, June 26, 2017

Just Getting On With It

I woke up this morning with my whole being roiling in anxiety. Not the panic attack type, just your everyday garden variety where life seems too scary to live in all regards.
I can't really describe it but there were tears. A few.
I knew I had to go walk and so I did, pushing it hard enough so that my breathing was concentrated on the out-breaths, a hard push of them out as if the anxiety itself were doing the pushing from behind me, inside me. Both.
I did stop to take a picture of the beautiful pink swamp mallow

which is indeed growing right next to a swamp which I also took a picture of. 

These rain-filled little creeklets always seem to me to lead into another mysterious universe, just hidden from view. 

I had been planning on going to Publix to buy garlic to make more dill pickles but supposedly, Mr. Moon was going to be bringing Gibson over around noon and he was going to pack and then he and Gibson were going to go down to Orlando to help celebrate Mr. Moon's sister's birthday. Owen got to go to one of these events a few years ago and it is Gibson's turn. My sister-in-law's sons and their wives and children are there too so there is much fun to be had and it's so special that Glen can take Gibson by himself, which is a rare and precious thing.

But of course noon turned into one and then two and then three and finally, by four my husband arrived with Gibson AND Owen who had wanted to come hang out with his Mer and spend the night. I packed the travelers enough snack food to carry them through the rest of the week if they needed to survive and then made popcorn too. They set off with their bowls on their laps, their water bottles within easy reach, to hit the highway to Orlando. I made Owen some popcorn too and then he wanted Chex Mix and made rings for his fingers with the pretzel circles in the mix and asked me if I knew how to get the Wii started which I did not but I called Boppy and he explained it to me and now the boy is playing various games. 

He seems happy. We took the trash to the trash depot together and I found a huge concrete pot that someone was throwing away and I would have loved to have brought it home but it had a plastic pot in it and lots of dirt and there was a tree growing through the plastic pot down into the concrete pot and I couldn't pull it out and empty the dirt so that I had the possibility of lifting it into the car. 
But dang, I wanted it. 
I could grow an entire herb garden in that thing. Sadly, I left it behind and we came on home. 

I still feel unsettled but plenty okay to have Owen here. He's fairly self-sufficient anyway and doesn't need me to entertain him every second. It's nice to have my first-born grand here by himself and I think he likes that too although he did tell me that he's going to miss Gibson. And I'm sure he will. As will Magnolia. 

Lily just sent me a video of Maggie singing her ABC's. I just uploaded it to Youtube so I can share it. I watch this and I think about how splendid and amazing it would be if I could see a video of Hank taking his first steps or learning to read or May dancing in the little nightgown that she loved to dance in so much or of Lily and Jessie on the Christmas morning that they were surprised with their puppy Pearl. 

So much about this world has gotten so weird and so far out and beyond the realm of what I could ever have imagined but this ability to easily capture our children's first moments, first steps, first words so easily and preserve them for as long as Youtube may be around is a sort of sweet miracle. 
Here she is. Ms. Magnolia June, singing with her mama and then giving her a great big kiss.

Our little one-and-only woman baby, smart and pretty and dancing already, beloved by her mama and her daddy, her brothers and her grandparents.

And now I'm going to go rustle Owen and me up some supper. Frozen pizza for him and a long-stashed chicken pot pie for me.
And watermelon.

It's summer time and the living is, as they say, easy.
I can't control the catfish jumping or how high the cotton is but I can surely make supper as easy as turning on the oven.
And Owen wants me to come do some Wii thing and I guess I will.
See you later.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Doing My Best

The Phlox are blooming. 

It's raining gently and I'm cooking eggplant to make Granny Matthew's eggplant casserole which is so good that people who hate eggplant love it.
Once, my brother had a girlfriend who came for supper and I served this casserole. She was going back for seconds when she asked what was in it.
"Eggplant," I said.
She suddenly decided she did not like it and took her plate to the kitchen.
She was odd. She got a snake for a pet. I secretly thought she only did that so that people would think she had a personality.
That is not who my brother married. The woman he married does have a personality.
And no need for a snake.

Mr. Moon is working on the dryer. It has not been drying well lately. I determined that the lint trap was filled in such a way that I could not clean it despite the fact that I clean the lint screen every time I use the dryer and he brought in his shop-vac and took care of that problem. It still did not work well. It heated and it tumbled so common sense said that the moisture was somehow being blocked from escaping.
He pulled out the machines (the dryer is stacked on the washer) and removed the big silver hose which takes the moisture and I assume, some of the lint, out.
He has vacuumed everything and cleaned out the hose and is putting it all back together. If it were just me, up to me alone, nothing like this would ever happen. I think about an Anne Tyler novel I read once where the family in it viewed things rusting or falling apart or falling down or becoming inoperable as just an inevitable part of life which none of them could no more possibly change than they could alter the passage of time.
It struck me that I am one of those people.
And I know I am.
This makes me feel so inadequate as a human being. I mean, I can clean a hen house or weed a garden or change a baby or wash the dishes or get gas for my car (barely) but these things are merely maintenance and have nothing to do with repair or renewal or restoration.

Dottie took a break off the nest today to go run and take a dirt bath and eat and drink and while she was gone, I looked to see what she is sitting on and discovered that there are only three eggs in the nest and those are the ones I gave her.

Oh, Dottie.
Bless your heart.

Bless her heart, bless my heart, bless Maurice's heart. She will NOT stop getting in fights and her face looks like she's a member of the Fight Club and I don't know how to stop her.

And her face looks worse tonight because she attacked Jack today and he, as always, won.

She's Scarface and I expect to walk into a room and find her hoovering lines of coke up her nose and screaming in cat-tongue about how the world's out to get her.

I'm a little bit crazy today. It's okay. I was normal yesterday so what do you expect?

Bless your heart too. I mean it.

Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, As Always

Dreams this morning of children and unexpected swimming pools in a yard with space to put the chickens. Dreams of professors and books signed with love and a class on why lesbians like to eat what they like to eat.
Oh, my dreams are so funny. My brain makes jokes it takes even me a while to get.

While the covers were still up to my ears, I knew it was gong to be an anxious day but, oh- who knows? Most days seem that way in the beginning but this one is carrying on as predicted and why not? It's Sunday.

Do you know that even now, at the age of almost-63 I still have nightmares about my stepfather?
Fifty-four years of trying to "just let it go."
My mother is in those dreams too.

Ah well. This is part of who I am just as surely as my nearsightedness, my love of books and words, that patch of not-much-melanin on my right calf which looks like a map of an uncharted island.

Don't read the newspapers. Just don't do it. Don't read the news online. Not that either. Don't follow the links on Facebook. Uh-huh.
As if any of that is possible.
As if it's possible at all to isolate/pretend/protect/reject/stay in dreamworld all day long.

The crickets are singing, singing, singing. Rhythm, then harmony, chorus, verse, chorus, solo, all voices together again in crescendo, fading, beginning again. The sky is growing gray. We are supposed to get rain. A squirrel grazes on the chicken scratch in a desultory manner. A hen on the nest, an old friend faithfully by her side.

Slow and steady and same as always the planet makes its journey around this sun star and so far tides still rise and fall as do the voices of the crickets, cicadas, frogs, children.

The Holy Hymn of Earth.

Some days I think my only job is to hear it, to know it, to worship in its various cadences, realizing I have a heartbeat which, for now, is part of it all.

You too.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, June 24, 2017

I Got Sticky Fingers That Smell Like Cumin

Ten more pints of pickles, these the Sweet and Hot Curried ones with cucumbers and green beans and tiny eggplant, golden raisins, red onions and some peppers so hot that hours after cutting them my hands are still stinging. And now my kitchen smells like Buddha's mother's kitchen on the days she made pickles. I feel certain of this.
I am a picklin' fool.
I went to Walmart today.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa but hey! I needed some damn dill seed and Publix doesn't have it and I was afraid the Winn Dixie in Monticello wouldn't have the fresh ginger which I also needed and blah, blah, blah, excuses, excuses, excuses.

After Walmart, I went to Publix where my friend Judy checked me out.
"Where've you been today?" she asked me while I was standing in line behind the woman she was checking out before me.
"Oh, Judy. I hate to tell you."
It was only then that I realized the woman in front of me paying for her groceries was wearing a Walmart employee shirt.

But overall it's been a good day. I have felt...normal in all regards.
Which is not normal for me but what I imagine normal to feel like. I didn't hurt overmuch in any area of my body, I didn't worry overmuch about anything. I didn't get anxious in Walmart, or at least not very much. A normal amount of anxiety, I would say. For Walmart. There weren't that many people there and the ones that were there seemed relatively... normal.

And it just felt so good, knowing I was going to come home and fill up the canning kettle again and slice vegetables that I've grown my very own self and boil a pickling syrup with vinegar and sherry and spices and garlic and ginger and sugar.
And I was happy doing all of that.
I am a simple woman and that's all there is to it.

When I was in the Walmart, I couldn't help but see some of the Pioneer Woman's products and there was a part of me which thought, "Jesus. She started out with nothing but a blog about cows and her husband and her kids and some dogs. And now she's the head of an empire and she's on TV and revitalizing her little town and what the hell am I doing?"

Making pickles, that's what. And let's face it- I no more want to be head of an empire than I want to revitalize Lloyd. That would suck.
Although I wouldn't mind if I could get a decent breakfast here without having to cook it myself. Maybe the truck stop owner will actually rebuild and put in a decent kitchen. Maybe even in my lifetime.
We'll see.

Meanwhile, I'm happy with what I have and wouldn't trade my little life with my garden and chickens and cats and man and kids and grands for anything in the world and I make a very fine breakfast in my very own kitchen with my very own chicken's eggs and that is just the truth.

As always-

Love...Ms. Moon

As They Say These Days- GENDER REVEAL!

Mr. Moon and I got smart this morning and went out and picked before it got killer hot. Then I shared a yogurt with Maurice who loves yogurt but only if it's got fruit in it and then I went out and weeded the zinnias and the edamame and THAT WAS ENOUGH OF THAT!
Phew. Already soaked through with sweat but I'm not close to the vomit-point so I feel good.

But I did not come here to talk about that. I came here to discuss the fact that Jessie got an ultrasound this week and so we now know the gender (supposedly- as I have discovered, you can't really be sure until the child grows up enough to tell you) of this little Boo Boo Weatherford.

But first, before I tell you, here's Jessie's most recent pregnant mama picture. With an added August bonus.

Isn't that a pretty belly on a pretty mama?
And...she's having another boy!
August will get a brother and Maggie shall, for the moment at least, remain the only woman child in the bunch. 
Which she is certainly sassy enough to handle with no difficulty whatsoever. 

And so we shall get another little boy and oh my goodness! Those Moon women and their boys! Precious boys. 
And now I can start thinking about another quilt and before we know it, there will be another birth, another sweet miracle of life for us to love on. Jessie says he's an active little guy, playing around in his watery world, practicing his breast stroke, his Australian crawl, his gymnastics so that when he is born he will be strong enough to play with his brother as soon as possible. 

My heart is so happy about all of this. And we're going up to see them in a few weeks. I talked to August yesterday and told him that I was going to come and kiss, kiss, kiss him. And play with him. And read books to him. And bite his toes and fingers whereupon he asked politely for his Boppy. 
Ah well. He will be getting us both. 

And I'm about to run into town to get ingredients to make these. 
Except I'm not going to use zucchini of which I have none, but cucumbers and little eggplants and green beans. 
Why not? 

Exotic pickles! 

Life is good. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Friday, June 23, 2017

At Least I Haven't Seen Any Snakes. Yet

Oh, y'all. I am so tired of sweating and itching and it's only June! I am being such a whiner and complainer this year but I swear it's worse than it's ever been. Here's a picture that Mr. Moon took last night.

That's how big the freaking mosquitoes are. And they are so hungry. And there are so many. After my husband took that picture last night, the seemingly dead and smashed insect came back to life and started crawling around. And I've never encountered mosquitoes that are so hard to slap. They move like jet planes. Everything about them is absolutely infuriating. Throw in these tiny ants with their pincers of pain and I'm about to lose my mind. 

I went outside and cleaned the hen house and put out fresh hay. I'd sprayed myself with bug repellant so that part wasn't so bad but the heat was overbearing. I told myself to just suck it up and went to pick the garden. I got the cucumbers picked (and there are enough for another canning kettle of pickles, I think) and plucked a few small tomatoes and an eggplant and started in on the green beans and got about halfway down the row and I realized that if I didn't stop and go inside, I was going to have heat stroke. 
For real. 

And I think about those pioneer women I've written about before and how I could not have lasted a month living in Florida under the conditions they lived in. I would have thrown myself into the nearest alligator infested river and prayed for quick end to my misery.

Well, here's what I did pick today.

Or part of it, at least. Can you believe that eggplant? It's a double wide. So glossy and perfect and purple that it doesn't even look real. 

And life goes on. We have to take the good with the bad and honestly, with air conditioning and running water and refrigerators, it's mostly good. And there are so many people in Florida who simply stay inside all summer long, paying someone else to do anything that must be done outside, buying their vegetables in Publix where shopping is a pleasure and the air conditioning makes the temperature perfect and the Muzak is not annoying. There was an article in the paper today about how it's the perfect time of year to camp at one of our beautiful state parks and all I could think was, "Yes, if you have a death wish."

I am grateful that I have the choice to brave the outdoors if I want to and the choice to come inside and be in the air conditioning if I don't. I could let the whole damn garden go to seed and shame and no one's life would be endangered. 
And of course, there's the river, right down the road where revival and redemption are but a dive into the spring-fed waters away. 

Can I get a hallelujah?
Amen, sisters and brothers. 

What The Rain Brings

Roses, ginger lily, bananas, the resurrection fern on the oak branches. All of that and the figs are swelling too.

Also- mosquitoes that could bleed a cow in an hour, little tiny black ants that swarm my porch and sting me, steam after a quick rainstorm that soaked me as I walked and got my hanging sheets so wet I've had to bring them in for another rinse and spin and then time in the dryer.

Here. Trixie is helping Dottie.

Sister wives. The old and the young. 

Happy Friday, y'all. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, June 22, 2017

More This And That

I got a text from Lily this morning after that deadly walk that she and the kids were down at the Wacissa with her friend Kelly. I decided that a jump in the river was just what I needed and so I did a few things around here that needed doing and put on a bathing suit bottom, a tight tank top and a loose tank top over that. I absolutely refuse to wear a bathing costume that has more bra in it that I wear to go out to eat. Forget it. No way. And I have looked all over the place (i.e., the internet and Target) for a bathing suit that doesn't have a fucking bra in it and I can't find one and at the Wacissa you'll see every sort of bathing suit and not-a-bathing-suit imaginable and no one gives a damn what you wear to swim in.
The water was cold and the sun was behind clouds and there was a good breeze so the yellow flies weren't out. It was, in short, heaven.
Maggie has realized that I am someone she can boss around and seems to be somewhat infatuated with me at the moment. She'll call me in a regular voice, "MerMer!" and if I don't respond immediately, she raises her voice higher and louder until she is absolutely shouting my granny name.
Like that.
At one point today she came over to where I was sitting in my chair and pushed me out of it and then stole my water.

Well, yes, I am about ten times bigger than she is but size doesn't count for everything. 
Trust me. 

So we had a good time and Owen jumped off the rope swing for the first time which is a pretty big deal. Then I got hungry and came home and ate some field peas. 

And did other stuff but it's all boring to do and to talk about so...moving on...
Here's Dottie sitting on the nest. 

And NO! That is not boring. I found a little cache of eggs hidden in the baby coop this morning and I put three of them right up next to her and when I went back later, she had disappeared them underneath her. I have no idea if any of these eggs are fertile but it's always exciting to think we might get mama-raised babies. 

Here's a picture some of you might recognize.

The fally-down house. One of these days it's just going to collapse. I need to brave the poison ivy and get a shot from the right side of it where a tree is growing up through it and has become part of the wall. It's beautiful. I took that picture this morning after I dropped off the green beans and pickles at Miss Liola's. 

And one more thing- an interview with Hank. 

My son, the Trivia Lord!

You know what? Life is funny. "Trivia Lord" is probably the last thing in the universe I would have predicted that my precious little redheaded baby would grow up to be. And yet, it makes so much sense. 

All right, y'all. That's enough of that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Why Does Anyone Live In Florida?

Dottie's for sure broody and I took Miss Liola some green beans and pickles but no one answered her door so I left them on the stoop and I had to backtrack on my usual route because a pack of dogs appeared, some of them pit bulls and you can say what you want about how sweet pitties are and I know because I used to have some but you can also say what you want about how they can tear you up and I know because I used to have some so I turned around and went another way and it's so fucking hot and so fucking humid and when I ducked into the woods to pee a million mosquitoes attacked me and well...
I'm miserable.

That is all.

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Safe And Home

Well, I am home.
And so glad to be although I have to say that for a trip which involved neurological appointments and three children in a small house containing half of the household decorating goods available from TJ Maxx along with plenty of antiques, it was a fun trip. One thing that I've acquired in old age is the ability to just let things flow as they will and to step back and let other people control what must be controlled.
For the most part, at least.
I think I do.
I guess we'd have to ask Lily and Jason about that. I have a terrible fear of being the sort of mother-in-law who is annoying and weird and bossy and who doesn't know her place in the scheme of things and when I say "scheme of things" I mean- their family unit.
Also, it's just easier to let someone else be the boss and it's taken me a lifetime to realize that.

We left Jacksonville after we took the kids to a little park to play in and hopefully burn off some energy before the drive. Here are some pictures.

Maggie loves ducks so she was in heaven. She sings a song to herself frequently and it's about ducks. I think. It could be about a doggie. Ducky or doggie. One of those animals. 

Anyway, we got to Lloyd and I went out and picked the garden which was the sweatiest, buggiest experience of my life. The mosquitoes are not to be believed. 
Thanks, rain! 
I got so many cucumbers that, well...this happened.

Yep. Here we go again. 

And I sat in front of the TV and shelled the peas I picked and we're having those and our squash and cherry tomatoes for supper. I shouldn't be eating ANY supper. You would not believe what I have eaten today. I can't believe what I've eaten today but I will say that Owen picked out our breakfast spot which is a place where they serve nothing but donuts and cinnamon rolls. Extremely HEALTHY donuts and cinnamon rolls, okay? No soy, no nuts, vegan, and some are gluten-free!
But let's not discuss the fat and sugar in them, okay? 
Or the size. 
And for lunch we ate...
Oh god. I can't even tell you. 

Krystal burgers.

I know. I know. I know. I haven't had one of those things in thirty years. And I hope I don't eat another for another thirty years. 

Lord, I've got to get back into some better eating habits. 

So it's good to be home and all of my chickens look fine and I swear I can tell a change in Dearie the Rooster from three days ago. His fancy feathers are growing in and he's just so pretty. I think Dottie may have gone broody but she sure isn't sitting on many eggs. As I know by now though, if she is broody, she'll commandeer everybody else's eggs and sit on those too. 
It's so nice to be back in my world of poultry and pickles. 

And oh yeah- it's mighty sweet to see my sweetie too. 

But I'm sort of going to miss having two little boys cuddle with me before bedtime and having Owen read us a story. And having Miss Maggie June toddle into my room and want uppie for her own cuddles and kisses before bed. And supervising the bubble bath. And waking up in the morning and hugging my daughter who has made me a cup of coffee. And making jokes with Jason who is a very funny guy. 

I'm a lucky woman. 

And I'm home. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

More Adventures In Jacksonville

Today has been fine and it started out out like this. 


Good Lord she's cute. 
We took Owen and Jason to the clinic and dropped them off and came back to the house-of-many-many decorative items and Lily tried to get Maggie back to sleep but that wasn't happening so we went to the funkiest place I think I've ever been. It was a hands-on play museum and yeah, seriously, that's what it was. There were climbing things and a ball pit and basketball you could play the regular way or in a wheelchair for educational purposes, I guess. There was a center set up to be a veterinarian office with real animal cages with stuffed animals in them and a real scale to weigh the animals on and giant hypodermic syringes (no needles, of course) to give your animal giant shots and it was wonderful and creepy.


There was a fire station, a pretend cafe, and a miniature Winn Dixie. Not to mention a bank and I don't even know what all. A toddler room. 


It was hot and sort of stinky as you can imagine and a germaphobe's nightmare. Child care groups were there with their little charges and the adults all had terrible worry lines on their faces and clipboards in their hands and kept saying things like, "Have you seen Jacob? Where's Jacob?"
Hell. All of the adults looked harried and worried because the children popped around like little kernels of popping corn and it was a special and strange sort of purgatory. 
But the kids loved it. 
Then lunch and then back to the house and then Lily picked up Jason and Owen and more naps were attempted and HAHAHAHAHAHAHA on that. 
Oh. Here's a picture of Gibson with a shark in a tank. Not at the hands-on museum but at the restaurant. 


Isn't he beautiful? 

Owen and I took a walk and now all of the Hartmanns have gone to have supper with Jason's uncle and I'm here alone. I just spent approximately 45 minutes trying to make a cup of coffee with fancy coffee-making things and finally managed to make a decent cup with a French press. 
I am so not a coffee gourmand. All I'm looking for is a caffeine delivery system. 

All right- here's something else I want to bitch about- if you go to a store and buy something, unless something goes wrong and you take it back, that transaction is done. 
However, if you purchase something online you can bet your boots there are going to be many emails asking you to rate your purchase, the shopping experience, the shipping experience, etc. 
Look- if something was unsatisfactory you would have heard from me! I'm not here to be your feedback on what your damn company is doing right or wrong. 

Okay. That's all I really need to bitch about now. 
We're going home tomorrow. I hear we're under a tropical storm warning. 
Hard to believe. I guess life does go on in Lloyd even if I'm not there. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Monday, June 19, 2017



We are in Jacksonville. We're staying at an AirBnB place in a darling house in a darling neighborhood. It's the actual home of the owner although she goes down the road and stays at her parent's when her house is booked. We are doing our very best to try and keep three rambunctious youn'uns from destroying anything or, in fact, EVERY thing in it and so far, so good. 

Owen had one appointment today and will have another tomorrow. It's been raining and so we couldn't take the kids to an outdoor park. Instead we went to a mall that had an indoor play place which was a major shock to my system. I didn't know whether to get a manicure, something pierced, a giant pretzel, or my aura adjusted. I decided not to do any of that but did buy the boys tickets for the little train that an extremely unhappy looking female engineer wearing overalls and a kerchief drove slowly around the lower level, making wide circles in front of the anchor stores and clanging the bell when appropriate. We followed it around with Maggie in her stroller. 
Owen looked like he might die of embarrassment but Gibson seemed to be in a state of pure delight. 

And that's about as much as I want to type on my phone now. I'm lying on an extremely comfortable bed, the children have fallen silent and so I imagine they are asleep. Lily and Jason are watching something on Netflix and I'm about ready to take a shower and put on my nun nightgown, soon to fall asleep. 

Peace to all, wherever you may be. 
Love...Ms. Moon

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Short One

I have packed a little bag with a few of my linen dresses and some deodorant and so forth and tomorrow Lily and Jason are picking me up at the ungodly hour of 8:00 a.m. and we are driving to Jacksonville where Owen will have his checkups at the neurology clinic. We shall be gone for two nights.

I am sure we will stop at the Busy Bee and there will be other adventures and I will report in.

This morning Owen was helping his Bop pick up trash on the road in front of the house and a man selling watermelons came by and gave one to Owen because he liked seeing a little guy working so hard.

Owen loves to pick up trash and I said to him, "You're just like David Sedaris."

"Is he a good guy?" Owen asked.

"Oh yes," I said.

And so is Owen.

Love...Ms. Moon

He's My Every Hero

There were Father's Day pancakes and bacon this morning. Jason had to work so Lily brought the children over here and we did it up good.

Father's Day can be difficult for me. A mishmash of resentment and memories of fear and much sadness. Throw in some anger and a little PTSD and child-heart-hopes dashed and trampled.

BUT. There were some good men in my life who showed me that not all men are bad or crazy or ill or pure downright evil. There really were. And because of that, because of them, I was able to know a very fine man when one came along in my life and I knew enough to accept his love and to love him back and thus, I gave my babies the best daddy they could have ever had.
And now that extends to giving my grandchildren the best granddaddy they could have.

No wonder they all ask for Boppy.  

And funny thing- he's not only an amazing father and grandfather, he's turned out to be the husband I never could have even imagined I would find on this earth in this lifetime.

Plus he's mighty cute.

Love...Ms. Moon

Saturday, June 17, 2017

I Got Some Shit Done

So where do I start?
Okay, I'll start here.

That's Goober-Dude #2 in the shower last night. When I took this picture, he was singing, "I am washin' my body! I am washin' my BODY!" 
And so he was. 
Owen had showered earlier. He also applied deodorant and blew dry his hair. Gibson doesn't play that game. 

So I took them home this morning and kissed the Magster who was as pink and plump and precious as Our Dear Lord Baby Jesus in an Italian Renaissance painting and then I went back to Costco (the boys ate all my cheese) and then to Publix where I meant to buy everything I need for my husband's Father's Day Special Desert. 
I forgot the fucking cream cheese. 
Gee. Dee. 
Oh well. 
I did remember the toilet paper. 

I came home and got the kitchen all cleared away and set up and ready to begin the pickling process once more and rinsed and drained the cucumbers and onions and peppers which had been laying in their salty spa in the refrigerator all night and sterilized jars and lids and made syrup and packed the hot, sterile jars and poured the syrup over them and put them in the canning kettle where they bubbled and boiled and they ended up looking like this. 

A different recipe for Bread and Butter pickles. We shall see how they turn out when I open a pint. 
Oh. I forgot to mention that while this pickle-making was going on, the skies had opened up and the rain was pouring down. 

It was so cozy on the porch and in the house where I was happy to indulge in the magic of boiling water and glass and vegetables and sugar and vinegar and spices. 

And then. 
And then. 
And then I absolutely had to book us a place in Asheville which meant deciding on dates and so forth because...August.  
And because I need to see my baby girl and get my hands on her belly and kiss her face and maybe make my yearly Asheville tomato pie and hang out with Vergil and we need to all go to the river where we went last year and let the water rush over us as we laid on the rocky bed. 
And so forth. 
And by golly, by god, by sheer force of will and okay, maybe my first Ativan of the month (I have no idea why but things like trying to book a place to stay makes me so anxious that I go into a sort of angry hysteria which is not pleasant either to observe or experience) I DID!

My reservation is confirmed. I am going to Asheville. And it will be, as all of my trips to Asheville over the years have been, amazing. 
I will take pickles and I will take shelled peas. I will take Boppy. Or, he will take me. 
Either way. 

And he just hung this

Which May gave me and which I adore and it is two feet away from my eyes as I write.

A Saturday where the universe had a lot to say and I just tagged along, doing my part in what needed to be done. 
Or something like that. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Thursday, June 15, 2017

A Special Day In That Jason Has A Birthday

Today is Jason's birthday and we all met at Persis Indian Grille to celebrate. We love that place so much. Owen had about five plates of butter chicken. He finished up with a plate which held nothing but naan with the butter chicken sauce on it. We all agreed it was like the Indian version of a biscuit with gravy.
He loved it.
For his birthday, Mr. Moon and I gave Jason a yard cart and a leaf blower. Now, that sounds like a lot but we'd promised him the yard cart LAST YEAR and have never gotten him one so we owed him. It was like a joke by now.
Maggie was delighted to see her Boppy. As soon as she saw me, she of course started to ask, "Boppa? Boppa?"
Owen said, "She just likes Boppy better than you."
I refuse to believe this. But she sure does give him the flirt-eyes when she sees him. And she absolutely croons his name.
Little girls. What you gonna do?
Kiss 'em up and love 'em to pieces.

After lunch and cake (which was delicious) I came home and cranked up the canning kettle. It was Day Fourteen for those pickles.
I had no idea how many pints I had in that crock but estimated about ten or eleven and it turned out I got about ten and a half. So. Here they are.

When that was all finished up and the pots and the crock all washed and drying and the lids popping and sealing, I went out to pick cucumbers and beans. Didn't get that many cucumbers but Lord, I got so many beans that I finally got tired and had to come in and rest and let my mosquito bites calm down. Mr. Moon got home and I sent him out to pick and then went to join him and we picked at least as many as I'd already picked and now I have tons and tons of green beans. I gave Hank and Rachel a gallon ziplock of them at lunch today. I suppose I better start freezing them. You can't can non-acid or pickled vegetables without a pressure canner and I do not have one of those. So- freezing it shall be. Of course you can't just stick them in a freezer bag and toss them in the freezer. You have to snap them and blanch them and shock them in cold water and THEN you can put them in the freezer bag. 

Anyway, I feel extremely productive and so forth and have been observing my chickens all day as I've gone about my business outside and have determined that Dearie is indeed going to be an alpha rooster eventually. His flock, at this point, consists of his tub-mates. Nicey, Nora, Trinky, and Tronky. Little Richard and Joe Cocker have but one hen apiece if they ever split up. Poor things. Only Nancy and Honey. It is yet to be determined who Owl and Lucy will join up with. As for now, they stick together and rarely get more than a few yards from the hen house. 
They are shy and they are playing it safe. 
Mick's ladies are Violet, Dottie, Darla, Trixie and Camellia. 
Is that all of them? Let me count. 
Yes. For the moment we have seventeen birds. 

And so it goes in my life, once again. It's time for me to get in there and finish up the laundry and make our supper. I'm doing our lovely simple slurpy ramen soup tonight and that is all. We've been watching one episode of the new season of "Orange is the New Black" every night and I'm not sure what I think. 
What about y'all? 

The sun is going down and the silver light is being shot all over the place in crazy ways, illuminating the sweet, rain-washed green of it all as well as the chickens, having their final scratches and snacks and sips for the day before they go to roost. I can hear a cardinal talking about stuff and it's supposed to rain again tomorrow.

Dang. There ain't nothing prettier than a white hen with the sun shining through her red comb. 

Yeah. I'm crazy. 

Love...Ms. Moon

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Anita Pallenberg

A woman that many of you have never heard of died yesterday. Her name was Anita Pallenberg.
She was at various times in her life a model, an actress, a fashion designer, a gardener, an artist, a mother, a junky. A muse.
She was the partner of Keith Richards for many years and the mother of his first three children, Marlon, Angela, and Tara who died when he was ten weeks old- the tragedy of his father's life and probably hers as well.

She'd been the lover of the Rolling Stone's Brian Jones before she got with Keith. Brian had become abusive and Keith snatched her up, already having fallen in love with her, and took her away, and they were together for a long time afterwards, going through fame and fortune and addiction and parenthood and sorrow and legal woes together. As to all accounts, they were happy for quite some time.

Keith wrote reams about her in his book Life, some of it brutal, some of it tender, all of it real. The way he talked about her is one of the reasons I came to love him in the reading of that book. As he didn't try to sugarcoat his own actions and proclivities, he did not try to sugarcoat hers. Keith is a man who doesn't use people and throw them aside. He's been married to Patti Hanson now for over thirty years. He's had the same personal assistant longer than that. The same guitar wrangler (an important employee in his life) forever. And of course, he and Mick have been together far longer than most married couples ever will. Since they were boys. And when he wrote about Anita, you could tell that he would have stayed with her forever, most likely, had things been just a bit different. Even after they broke up, they remained close. He said, "It was tough. At the same time there was an underlying love that goes beyond all of that other stuff. I can say, 'I love you, I just won't live with you.' And now we're proud grandparents, which we never thought we'd ever see."

Today, he posted this picture on Facebook with the words "A most remarkable woman. Always in my heart."

So. That's all. You may never have heard of her but she is a part of my generation's history and I respect her strength and her persistence and her spirit, which must have been magnificent. 
There's a lot more to her story but those are a few of the bones. 
And my acknowledgement of her influence because trust me- she had a lot. 

Love...Ms. Moon

One Day's Walk

This morning I decided to walk down Old Lloyd Road, or Highway 158, to Lloyd Creek Road. A walk I love except for the part on the highway because of long grass bordering the road which means when trucks and cars go by, I have to step off into places where I cannot see what I might be about to step on.
But all went well and I walked for about an hour, trying to burn off anxiety, trying to make up for the rain-excused walkless week so far. When Hank and May were little and we lived about ten miles from where I live now, we used to go right there to the place in that picture above to get cool in the iced-tea colored water.

The creek is beautiful right now. Still and high, calm and clear, except for the color which comes from the tannins- the leaves and bark of the trees which line it. 

More pictures of North Florida.

A few hundred yards from that sign down a drive that looks like this

lies the mysterious and strange Nautilus Foundation. 
In the article I linked, there is a quote by a "student" who lived there and described the place. I am almost certain that the quote was taken from one of May's blogs. She lived there years ago for a short while, taking care of Francois Bucher who built the place. 
Here is the quote.

“Gauguin’s ladies. Ancient books. Skin puppets in an old trunk. A secret passageway. A ghost ship. Michelangelo’s cold brained boy. A phone call from Nelson Mandela. A monster from my childhood. Einstein’s couch. Avenging angels. Pick-up truck angels. A nun’s room. A locked tower. Zillions and zillions of stars. A Minotaur.”

Yes. There is magic where I live but most of it is hidden away, tucked beneath railroad trestles or deep in the pine woods. Creatures and flowers and running creeks and strange places where Einstein's couch once sat and my daughter once lived, making smoothies for the curious old genius who built and gathered treasures here for a reason I do not know, nor does it even matter. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Bounty And Booty

It's thundering again off in the distance and we're expected to get more rain, more rain, more rain.
That is just all right with me, sugars. It's not the kind of rain, so far, that makes you wonder if it's time to build an ark. It's a come-and-go rain that cools us off and is making everything green beyond green.
I am grateful for it all and have not tired of the boom of thunder, the smell of it in the air.

The phlox are starting to bloom and by the time I die, this whole yard will be filled with them. There's plenty already, spread from the ones I brought that my neighbor gave me where I last lived. That's over thirteen years of phlox propagating. Some I'm responsible for, some just the result of nature. They grow wherever you plant them, they just do. They know their mission in life. They accept it and they joyfully take it on. 

I made 7 more pints of dill pickles today after going into town to Costco and Publix. I bought enough stuff to feel as if I will never have to go to the store again. As I unpacked my necessities and not-so-necessities, I felt humbly and profoundly grateful that we can afford such good food. Add that in to what Mr. Moon has brought in from the woods and what we've grown and as I so often say- we are richer than anyone could possibly imagine. 
I drained the fourteen-day pickles again and reboiled the pickling syrup and dissolved another cup of sugar in it and poured it back over the pickles. I consider them to be pickles at this point, even though they are still processing. Two more days and two more cups of sugar and these things will be ready to go in the canning kettle. 
I'm really way too excited about this. 

The field peas are absolutely chock-full of pods. And y'all- I've got several more rows and a whole other variety. Plus the edamames. This gardening thing is about to become what amounts to a full-time job this summer. I picked three more squash and another eggplant and have eggplant salted and draining for tonight's Parmesan. Beautiful little things. 
And I am not going to count any chickens before they hatch OR eggs before the hens start laying them but golly- if at least some of these hens get matured soon and take to the nests, I'm going to have such an abundance of fresh eggs again. 

Every day I can see more changes in Dearie The Rooster and that's him with his number one lady- Trinky. Or maybe Tronky. Hard to tell. Remember the Chi-Cha's? It's like that. Honestly, I feel certain that an owl's going to take one of those birds as they roost in the trees one of these nights and I'm going to be so upset but what can I do? Get out a ladder every night and fetch them down and put them in the hen house? 
I don't think so. 
But I sure am hoping for the best because I think Dearie has the potential to be one damn fine rooster. Not as handsome as Elvis- of course- but fine enough.

So there you go. That's my life, my world right now. And here's a few pictures of August Glinden because I know you miss his precious pretty face. 

He is obviously growing up way too fast up there in Asheville but there ain't one damn thing I can do about that. He is also obviously happy and having the time of his life. 

Rich. I am so rich. Gold and diamonds and rubies and emeralds drip from my fingers and now I need to go make supper. 
Which makes me happy. 
As usual. 

Love...Ms. Moon